To start about my Asian trip, I was wondering why still not many people - at least Europeans - didn't discover this wonderful paradise called Bali. So, I asked myself the question... Why Bali?
I have heard this question quite a while when I told people I was going to Bali, as for most people it sounded like a faraway island, out of their reach - which it actually is not, but we'll get to that point later.
I actually have no freakin' idea WHY exactly Bali was the place spinning around my mind once I was bout to graduate in 2013. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I think it's the same for travel destinations... People cross our path, we read books, hear stories from other people, see some inspiring pictures, and suddenly - it's crystal clear.
In my case, I will have to admit everything happened on a lot less romantic note. I just found some cheap tickets, and started wondering if I would be able to find the balls to book the tickets and just GO. In my point of view back then, Bali was cool for surfing, was far away and must be something cool to see.
In the end, I was graduated, and it was time to explore my limits and do
something that I didn't do before, and travelling alone to a far far away
place sounded like the perfect fit. So, those balls we were talking about were collected, the tickets booked (just on the night before leaving to another cool trip to Mallorca) and faster than I could imagine I was already setting foot on Balinese soil. In the end,
So, after visiting this amazing place myself, let me tell you what the REAL reasons are to visit Bali! :)
1. Exploring an intriguing culture
No matter if you come from Europe, the Americas, Africa or even other Asian countries - Indonesia is an enormous cultural discovery. It is so different from everything you've ever experienced. Starting by the more visible factors like food, clothing, art, religion or traditions, but also more specific things like the family life and dance are very interesting to experience. If you just want a small taste, you should definetely go watch a Balinese dance performance (the Ubud Palace is one of the best places to see one), stay in a homestay instead of a hotel and watch how the real families live all together, or try to learn some basic Bahasa Indonesian - the language spoken in Bali.
Traditional wood carving, rice fields of Ubud
Pura Desa, Ubud
This is a perfect place to clean your body and mind from stress, worries, problems and all kinds of negative things. Purify yourself, go back to basics and enjoy the pure atmosphere of the less touristic parts of this wonderful land. Also, there is a lot of organic self-grown food here, to purify not only the soul, but also your body.If somebody would ask me where to go on a purifying retreat for body and soul, Bali is definetely THE place that would directly pop up on my mind!
No matter if you're a newbie and didn't see a surfboard from closer by than a photograph or a pro, Bali's got the waves for you! Starting from getting classes to be able to recognize a surfboard and catching your first white waves at Kuta Beach or Seminyak, or watching the pro's fight the majestic waves on the cliffs of Ulu-Watu, Bali is the place to be for some surfing. There is a place on the island for every surfer level, the water has an amazing temperature that never sems to be too cold or too warm, and the rent of a board is almost free. Make sure to bring some sunscreen, since the sun is quite strong here almost all year round. Surfing and getting a tan in the meantime. Cool!
4. Discover how green green really is!
You know what they say - the grass always seems greener on the other side. Well... Not this time! On Bali, no way that there is grass that could be greener than what you get to see here. Acres of ricefields to get lost in, jungle-like woods near Ubud (where the green is definetely even that little bit greener than in the rest of Bali), palmtrees and whatever kind of green you can imagine - you will find it here. Not only is the green so green unlike everything you ever saw before, it is also pure and untouched - something you don't get to see too often in our industrialized world.
I had to mention this one, because honestly - there was not ONE time that I ate bad food in Bali! Maybe I had a good intuition where to go to, and sometimes followed tips from TripAdvisor or my Lonely Planet guide, or maybe the Indonesian food is just delicious! I want to believe in the second, since I never spent more than 10 Euro on a meal - and mostly not even 5, and had great food with an exquisit taste.
Some tips and tricks about that later, but trust me - the food is definetely one of the reasons to come here! As I mentioned before, also the abundancy of organic products is am advantage to try those delicious salads.
Even the coconuts taste like Dom Perignon :)
Organic salad - Sari Organik, rice fields of Ubud
6. Eat. Pray. Love.- but NOT the book
A lot of - single, lonely or just curious - 30+ women go on the Eat.Pray.Love. tour just to visit all the places that Elizabeth Gilbert visited on hers, and described in the bestseller. I honestly do't see the sense of repeating someone else's trip, especially kind of a spiritual one, since it is very personal where you go, who you meet and where you end up. I do not recommend to go see nor Wayan, the natural pharmacist, nor Ketut, the healer. I think that if you are interested in those matters, your way will lead you to your own 'predestined' healer or natural specialist, and if not, you can always do some research on the internet - or just ask the hotel you're staying at. I DO think that eating, praying - and even loving, if it be learning to love yourself or just spending some quality time with your partner - is the perfect description of what this paradisiac island is meant to be for. The food is delicious, as well in the street carts as in the simple Balinese warungs (where you can eat a full meal for less than 3 Euro). There are a lot of quiet retreats and unknown corners of the island where you can go meditate, find yourself and think about the sense of life. As well as solo, as a couple this seems like a perfect vacation where you can find yourself - and each other.
I can't wait to get back and discover more of this paradisiac place, and I hope I made your appetite to consider a trip here as well!